Published on: 27th Jun 2012
Asked to predict future disruptive technologies and the next epicenter for
innovation, technology executives worldwide believe that China and the United
States will be at the forefront, with Cloud enabling both the next indispensable
consumer technology and business transformation for enterprises. Mobile
technologies will continue to build on Cloud, providing the tech breakthrough
that will transform businesses, according to the Global Technology Innovation
survey by KPMG, the audit, tax and advisory firm.
Almost 30 percent of the 668 business executives in the Americas, Asia
Pacific (ASPAC), Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) said China and the
United States show the most promise for disruptive breakthroughs with global
impacts, while 13 percent cited India. Interestingly, only 39 percent of U.S.
respondents selected the United States as most promising, while 71 percent in
China selected China.
To identify disruptive technologies and the scope of change two to four years
out, KPMG surveyed executives from technology industry startups, mid-sized to
large enterprises, venture capital firms and angel investors.
“The pace of technology innovations today is happening at unparalleled
speed and China’s projected rapid rise to prominence as a technology leader
would be another example of this,” said Gary Matuszak, partner, global
chair and U.S. leader for KPMG’s Technology, Media and Telecommunications
practice. “China’s anticipated parity with the U.S. tech sector shows the
significant challenge facing the United States to retain its position as an
innovation leader, as other key countries will continue to take steps to boost
technology innovation and attract tech entrepreneurs as well.”
“These survey findings also demonstrate that China’s innovation
investment has fostered an environment for the development of disruptive
technologies that is growing by leaps and bounds. The Chinese Government is
encouraging significant investment in three key areas – (1) shared services
and outsourcing, (2) mobile payments and (3) cloud computing. The 12th Five-Year
Plan is also driving innovation in these critical areas, in order to create a
nationwide virtual environment,” said Egidio Zarrella, a partner in KPMG
Asked what technology will have a major impact by 2015, 30 percent of the
survey respondents globally said Cloud Software as a Service (SaaS) will enable
the next indispensable consumer technology. In regard to driving business
transformation, 22 percent said Cloud Infrastructure as a Service, followed
closely by SaaS, will have the greatest impact. In the U.S., SaaS was the top
selection in consumer and enterprise technologies.
“It is clear that technology leaders in countries where technology
innovation is thriving believe that the Cloud represents a technology tidal
shift. They are placing a huge bet on Cloud, as it has multiple capabilities and
benefits for providers and users such as generating revenue, improving
operational efficiency, reducing costs and time to market, and enabling other
disruptive technologies such as mobile and social applications,” said
Matuszak. “The significant Cloud investment that is under way is likely to
spur technologies that drive breakthroughs in business transformation.”
Mobile technologies also are seen as a significant beneficiary of Cloud, as
almost 30 percent of global respondents expect that the next tech breakthrough
in four years resulting in the greatest business transformation will come from
smartphones, tablets and other mobile technologies.
Potential Challenge to Silicon Valley’s position as tech innovation center
Forty-four percent of global respondents said it was likely that what many
consider the technology innovation center of the world would shift from Silicon
Valley to another country in the next four years, 23 percent of those surveyed
said it is unlikely and 34 percent were undecided. Not surprisingly, only 28
percent of the U.S. respondents think the shift is likely, while more than half
in ASPAC, and more than 40 percent in EMEA see the move as likely. Of those
globally who believe the center will shift, most (44 percent) said it would move
Apple Viewed As Top Innovator
In considering innovation drivers, visionaries and leaders, more business
executives globally identified Apple, now led by Tim Cook, and former CEO Steve
Jobs as tops in these three areas. As the top company driving disruptive
innovation, Apple was followed by Google and Microsoft, according to the survey.
Respondents also viewed Jobs as the top global innovation visionary, followed by
Bill Gates. In China specifically, executives said Gates was the top visionary
and Jack Ma the innovation leader. In India, Infosys was identified as the
innovation leader, and in Israel, it was IBM/Lenovo.
At the same time, about one-third globally pointed to Google, Facebook and
Amazon as emerging leaders in mobile commerce.
Innovation Development, Challenges, Barriers
The survey uncovered differences in who or what function drives innovation in
companies. About three in 10 globally said the CEO has the responsibility to
drive innovation in their company, while 20 percent, including half the
respondents in China, said the Chief Innovation Officer, and 15 percent each
cited the Chief Information Officer and research and development. Some 38
percent said that innovation is most often spotted and nurtured in the RD
department, followed by IT and strategic planning, while the majority of those
surveyed use revenue growth as the metric to measure innovation value.
Asked whether their education system serves as an incubator for innovator
thinkers, slightly more than half believed this was true. In China, close to 75
percent thought this was true, while in the United States, less than half
In regard to adopting future technologies, cost/pricing models was pointed to
by survey respondents as the top challenge to adopting the next indispensable
consumer technologies, while security/privacy governance is the number one
challenge to adopting future business transforming technologies and also is the
top barrier to commercializing disruptive innovation.
“The fact that security/privacy governance is a challenge is not news, yet
it’s an ongoing reminder of its importance as the business models continue to
evolve,” said Matuszak. “The companies that develop a way to balance
data-driven innovation with the appropriate transparency, privacy and
information security frameworks to satisfy customers and regulators will have a
In the March – May 2012 survey of 668 business executives globally whose
organizations were focused on the technology space, thirty-four percent of the
respondents were in the Americas, 42 percent in Asia Pacific, and 23 percent in
Europe, Middle East and Africa. In regards to countries, 25 percent were from
the United States, 14 percent from China and 9 percent from Israel.